Daily D – Luke 2:6-7
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. LUKE 2:6-7 (NLT)
The Center for Disease Control strongly warns us not to travel for Christmas this year. They said the same thing about Thanksgiving. The significant spike in cases of COVID since Thanksgiving indicates they were probably right then. They are probably right now.
This reality means a lot of grandparents and great-grandparents are not going to get to spend time with their extended families. I’ll Be Home for Christmas was written about a season when people wanted to be home together but often could not. The wistful, almost mournful feel of this classic tune resonates a bit more deeply this year.
There is something special about waking up in a home full of loved ones on Christmas morning. The tree aglow, presents piled up, fire in the fireplace, coffee and breakfast in process. Those are memories we will treasure this year from Christmases past. Those are memories we plan to make again in Christmases to come.
Ours is not the first Christmas interrupted by events beyond our control. The first Christmas perhaps set the pattern for many to come. The circumstances of Mary and Joseph and Jesus were definitely not a home-for-Christmas Hallmark movie setting.
Two songs will be sung in churches live and via livestream tonight. Silent Nightand O Holy Night will echo with deep emotion. Each reminds us of the beauty and wonder of all that Christmas means. This is a time to remember that in darkening days long ago, the Light of the World entered to drive back the night.
This is a time for worship. This is the time to fall on your knees. The Creator of all things stepped into time and offered access to eternity. More than timeless existence, he offers relationship which is deep, personal, and safely loving. There is no fear, no malice, no worry, no separation. This relationship is full of all the best things about being home for Christmas.
A cave, a manger, livestock, noisy shepherds, a mom, a dad, and a baby boy. A family far from home. A family that would soon be threatened with death. Maybe, just maybe, God does his best work in dark times when people most recognize their need for him.
We may not be home for Christmas this year, but we may find meaning in our separation and a devotion for what matters most. Let us begin planning and working for better opportunities for Christmas gatherings next year so that our songs and our experience are more sacred and beautiful than ever.
I will worship with wonder in this season when I cannot wander.
Our Father, like Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, help us make a home wherever we are this year. Bless us with meaningful moments of love and devotion even in our season of separation. Thank you for places to call home. Thank you for making your home in our hearts. Thank you that you will take us home to be with you one day. Amen.
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2 Samuel 18:18 During his lifetime Absalom had taken a pillar and erected it in the King’s Valley as a monument to himself, for he thought, “I have no son to carry on the memory of my name.” He named the pillar after himself, and it is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.
Psalm 55:6-8 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”
2 Samuel 11:2-5 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”